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Re: Simple Proposal

From: Mark Wielaard
Subject: Re: Simple Proposal
Date: Fri, 9 Nov 2001 14:39:46 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.23i


On Thu, Nov 08, 2001 at 02:09:59PM -0500, Etienne M. Gagnon wrote:
> I think there is an important ambiguity: one has to ask RMS to know whether 
> carrying the exception to derivtive work is allowed (and maybe one lawyer's 
> might disagree with RMS!). Here's the problem:
> In the strict interpretation of copyright law, you are only allowed to do 
> what a license tells you is allowed (unless some parts of the license cannot 
> be enforced for some other reason (another law)).  So, the obvious 
> interpretation of the exception clause is this:
> 1- Fact: Source code modification IS NOT the same as linking.
> 2- Fact: The exception says that anything other than linking is governed by 
> the GPL.
> 3- Fact: The GPL says that modified versions should be GPLed.
> Conclusion =>
> If you modify Classpath, you have to license your modified Classpath under 
> the "pure" GPL (no exception).

OK, so your concern is that we (or the FSF which officially distributes GNU
Classpath) take this position when interpreting the license as it is worded
now and that would force anybody that makes a derived work based on Classpath
(a VM, a library with modified version of the core classes, etc.) to either
make sure they only link to the distributed library without changing any
thing or make changes and release their derived work under a GPL compatible

You may call me an evil bastard but I kind of like that ambiguity.
When people are really serious about useing Classpath in a derived work where
they have to change the source code they will have to contribute that code
back to the project to make sure we make a release of the library that
includes those changes so they can just link to it. Either way we will end
up with more Free Software <GRIN>. I do see your point though.

> [...]
> This text has been authored by RMS and acknowledged by (I am sorry I do not 
> remember his name) the FSF's counseling lawyer (the professor).  RMS 
> suggested to include it in the license of SableVM.
Did he also suggest to apply it to Classpath or to other libraries distributed
by the FSF? (The legal counsel you are refering to s probably Eben Moglen.)

> >I also fear that raising the issue at this time might be a distraction from
> >the issue of the AWT license.
> It is a timing thing.  As we already have to deal with a licensing problem,
> and debate it, why not take advantage of it to settle down all license
> problems at once, so that we can then vacate to coding?

This debate is really eating up a lot of everyones time. I need several hours
a day to go through, think about and respond to the different licensing issues
that are currently brought up (yes, you may call me a slow reader, thinker,
writer, etc.) It is not that I don't think all these issues (AWT,
interpretation of the current GPL+Exception language, new proposals for the
exception we should use etc.) are really important, but they do burn me up
really fast. Personally I would like to take it one step at a time and try
to do some coding in between to put my mind to rest.



Stuff to read:
  What's Wrong with Copy Protection, by John Gilmore

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